Did you know that bird feeders are powerful bear attractants? They love black sunflower seeds like we love ice cream. Or that compost and fruit on the ground can draw a bear from a mile away? And that unsecured garbage cans full of rotten food are an open invitation for bears to dine?
A bear that hangs around your house, farm or business becomes conditioned to human food and the presence of humans. They lose their fear of people and human-bear conflicts are inevitable. Once a bear becomes a problem they cannot be relocated and are often killed. “ A feed bear is a dead bear” so the saying goes.
GBOP developed the ‘Bear Smart Program’ to provide folks with the information necessary to ensure the safety of humans and the welfare of bears. You are invited to apply for ‘Bear Smart Certification’ by visiting the GBOP Bear Smart website www.bearinfo.org/bearsmart.htm.
Some bear smart tips include: pick ripe fruit from trees, feed birds in the winter when the bears are hibernating, don’t leave pet food outside, secure your garbage in a safe area or use a bear smart container. Enjoy the presence of bears without making them a nuisance.
photo credit: Jim Frick
written by Dennis Ryan; GBOP Okanogan County Field Coordinator